Wash Day -by Rachel Hogg

1968

‘Vi? Vi! There’s another one been lost! That’s the third in three weeks.’

Mrs Bennett from next door bustled into the kitchen, brandishing a copy of the Mail which she spread out over Vi’s kitchen table. ‘THIRD HULL TRAWLER LOST’, the headline exclaimed. ‘19 ON BOARD. “No hope”, say the owners.’ The Ross Cleveland had gone down in Icelandic waters, all lives presumed lost. The Romano had gone down two weeks before, followed by the Kingston Peridot a week later.

‘Now, are you going to get behind Lil and sign her petition?’

‘Bloody Lil. She should leave well alone. It’s men’s work. No place for a woman to be meddling. Is it true she tried to stop the St Keverne from sailing?’ Continue reading “Wash Day -by Rachel Hogg”

❤4EVA❤ – by Rachel Hogg

‘He likes you’, Clare mouths, as a hand reaches over the back of my coach seat and pulls my ponytail for the tenth time.

‘No, he doesn’t’, I whisper back. Though, secretly, I hope he does.

Richie Simmons. The best looking boy in Year 10. Floppy dark hair, piercing blue eyes and a battered leather jacket (‘Used to be my dad’s. Wore it to Glastonbury in ’71’). He plays the drums, and is so much more mature than any of the other boys in our year. Of course I fancy Richie Simmons. But then, so do the rest of the girls in Year 10.

‘Got any chuddy?’ Richie’s face appears between the coach seats, like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

‘God, Richie. You’re always on the scrounge’, says Clare, in mock indignation.

‘Here, I’ve got some,’ I say, fishing a Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit from the depths of my school bag.

‘Ah, you’re an angel, Susie.’ Richie takes the stick of gum from me. Clare gives me ‘a look’, and I feel the colour rising in my cheeks. Continue reading “❤4EVA❤ – by Rachel Hogg”

Love in the Time of COVID-19 – by Rachel Hogg

 

DAY 1

I guess lockdown was quite… fortuitous, really. Firstly, I had been needing a holiday from work in forever, and secondly, Matt moved in. His flatmate is a nurse. He didn’t want to take any risks.

Matt came to mine after work, wearing a shirt and tie, and that scent which always transports me straight to chilled-out nights and too much wine. Smart. Executive. Sexy as hell. Armed with a laptop bag and his suitcase. Who knows how long he’ll be here?

He could stay here forever, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve only been dating a couple of months, but this just feels… right. The world outside might crash and burn, but we’re safe here, in our blissful bubble. We have dinner, a bottle of wine, and sex. Twice. After, he jokes that we should make sure to wash our hands properly. We stand in the bathroom, up to our elbows in suds, and sing Happy Birthday to each other.

Lockdown ain’t so bad. Continue reading “Love in the Time of COVID-19 – by Rachel Hogg”

Equinox – by Rachel Hogg

The obsession had started when he was on sick leave at the end of last year.  It was only intended as a distraction whilst he was holed-up, bored in the house. It was mid-March now and he was back to full health and back at work, but still he was gripped.

Every evening, he would rush home, lock the door and switch on his laptop.  He would stay trapped by the screen for hours at a time.  Dinner was usually forgotten.  Bedtime would be whenever he finally collapsed, exhausted on the keyboard.  There had been more than one occasion when he hadn’t made it to bed.  Had woken up at 7am, with a QWERTY imprint on his forehead.  Headed back to work in the previous days pants.

Continue reading “Equinox – by Rachel Hogg”

Golden Tears – by Rachel Hogg

At 7pm on Tuesday, the weather is still warm enough for Billy to be outside in a t-shirt and shorts.  He sucks a carton of Um Bongo through a straw and listens to Michael Jackson on his Walkman.  Across the street, Dirty Grimshaw sits on his front step, swigging supermarket-brand lager from the can and throwing his dog-ends onto an ever-growing pile.  The neighbourhood kids piss him off, squealing, as they race each other across sticky tarmac on BMX bikes.  At 7pm, no-one is overly worried that eleven-year old Tania Parry has not yet returned from the swimming pool. Continue reading “Golden Tears – by Rachel Hogg”

Teenage Kicks – by Rachel Hogg

On Saturday, several people had seen the young sweethearts in a secluded corner of the local McDonalds. Seen, but not really noticed. The boy and girl sat in their own little world, making plans and sharing salty kisses between mouthfuls of chicken McNugget.

By Wednesday night, the first of their plans had come to fruition. Afterwards, they built a den on the living room floor and binged on ice-cream and Netflix. It was not until the following Saturday that the police kicked the door in. The young couple had gone AWOL before, and concerns had been raised about their recent disappearance. But until this moment, these hadn’t been the people the police were looking for. Continue reading “Teenage Kicks – by Rachel Hogg”

The Broken Teapot – by Rachel Hogg

‘It’s the way you pour it,’ June exasperated. What a mess. The teacup was swimming in a pool of milk, the saucer full to the brim, and the surrounding tablecloth soaked. Fred could be such an embarrassment at times. He was getting worse in his old age, June was sure. They were in a teashop in York, all hushed voices and tinkling teaspoons, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

‘Though how we’ve ever made it this far, I’ll never know’, June had half joked to Angela, oblivious to the wry smile Fred and Angela had shared. Continue reading “The Broken Teapot – by Rachel Hogg”

After the Funeral – by Rachel Hogg

‘It was testicular’, Denise says.  ‘They caught it too late.  Well, he caught it too late.  I’m telling you, lads – check yourselves.  It’s important.  Promise me?’

Half promises are mumbled into half-drunk pints.  We try not to make eye contact.  Wakes are funny things.  Familiar people dressed in unfamiliar clothes.  Familiar surroundings infiltrated by unfamiliar people.  I can’t remember the last time I saw Denise in the King’s.  I’ve certainly never seen Mrs Morgan in here.  She sits, silently, at the end of the table, a tiny sherry glass pinched between her meaty fingers.  The black widow.  She’s sitting in Danny’s usual seat, so he’s squashed in next to me by the window.  Ned’s sitting in Roddy’s chair, which just looks wrong.  We sit.  No-one speaks.  I wonder if I should stick summat on the jukebox. Continue reading “After the Funeral – by Rachel Hogg”